Sustainable Design

How Singapore is Leading The Way in Green Building Design

In this blog series, we’ll be taking a look at some of the top-rated cities for green building design projects in Asia. In this edition, we’re highlighting Singapore, which is also arguably one of the top-rated cities in the world for its sustainable design efforts, and energy saving in buildings, according to the report of the Top 10 Global Cities for Green Buildings.

We’ll investigate Singapore’s position in the green building industry in Asia, and some of the things it’s doing right – and the statistics that back it up – to keep it at the top of the sustainable-and-energy-saving game in the region.

Singapore’s world ranking

As illustrated by the Top 10 report, Singapore ranks as Asia’s top performer in a number of categories. Globally, it falls just below Paris as the world’s top-ranked city for green building performance.

Singapores world ranking

The ranking comes as a result of consistent performance and heavily driven growth in a number of key areas relating to the performance of cities aiming for high rankings in Environmentally Sustainable Design(ESD). These factors – together making up 100% of a city’s ranking – can result in positive spin-offs in many different sectors of a society if they are looked after and treated as important to the wellbeing of the entire city – which is clearly what Singapore is doing.

Not only is there a business case for good green building performance, but there are health, lifestyle, tourism, cultural, community and socio-economic cases for it too. In these aspects, Singapore is outperforming its fellow ranked Asian cities by a large margin.

The green building landscape in Singapore

This definition of this landscape translates loosely as the total number of green buildings and certifications in use in a particular area – of which there are many of both in Singapore. The report shows that 48% of Singapore’s built landscape is currently built “green”, putting it a second place globally – this time behind London – but streaks ahead in Asia.

City-wide Green Buildings

The figure shows the percentage of green buildings that are certified according to regional sustainable design certifications. Out of a total of 4,457 high-rise and skyscraper buildings in Singapore, 2,339 of them are green buildings. That’s an impressive figure considering that the revolution has only really kicked off in the last ten-to-fifteen years.

When looking at the levels of sustainable design activity in Singapore [p.30], in 2015 89% of construction firms reported that 60% of their projects or more were green design projects.

What makes Singapore the top performer in Asia?

To cite the report, Singapore has, “a long history of urban planning, research, regulations and frameworks,” which makes it an example city for other cities in the world striving for environmentally sustainable and energy saving in building. Singapore is also one of only three cities in the world that was able to meet its green building targets – the others being Beijing and Shanghai, which is a good indicator of the growth of the industry in Asia.

Singapore Green Building Rankings

Policies and regulations set out by the government are big drivers of growth in the industry. These frameworks set the standard for building codes, which will then determine the energy consumption and overall green status of buildings as they move through their respective lifecycles.

By setting effective green policy in place for the built environment, local and regional governments can influence the level of commitment in the sector shown towards green design targets. Considering that Singapore’s Green Building Masterplan [p.26] was only implemented in 2006, the Singapore government – together with the Singapore Green Building Council – has effectively achieved this, and the results are paying off.

Singapore is currently the outstanding achiever in green building in Asia and if the indications of the highlighted trends are anything to go by, it looks set only to rise higher and higher in its sustainable design glory.

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